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1.  Nitrogen Distribution and Cycling through Water Flows in a Subtropical Bamboo Forest under High Level of Atmospheric Deposition 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75862.
The hydrological cycle is an important way of transportation and reallocation of reactive nitrogen (N) in forest ecosystems. However, under a high level of atmospheric N deposition, the N distribution and cycling through water flows in forest ecosystems especially in bamboo ecosystems are not well understood.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In order to investigate N fluxes through water flows in a Pleioblastus amarus bamboo forest, event rainfall/snowfall (precipitation, PP), throughfall (TF), stemflow (SF), surface runoff (SR), forest floor leachate (FFL), soil water at the depth of 40 cm (SW1) and 100 cm (SW2) were collected and measured through the whole year of 2009. Nitrogen distribution in different pools in this ecosystem was also measured. Mean N pools in vegetation and soil (0–1 m) were 351.7 and 7752.8 kg ha−1. Open field nitrogen deposition at the study site was 113.8 kg N ha−1 yr−1, which was one of the highest in the world. N-NH4+, N-NO3− and dissolved organic N (DON) accounted for 54%, 22% and 24% of total wet N deposition. Net canopy accumulated of N occurred with N-NO3− and DON but not N-NH4+. The flux of total dissolved N (TDN) to the forest floor was greater than that in open field precipitation by 17.7 kg N ha−1 yr−1, due to capture of dry and cloudwater deposition net of canopy uptake. There were significant negative exponential relationships between monthly water flow depths and monthly mean TDN concentrations in PP, TF, SR, FFL and SW1.
The open field nitrogen deposition through precipitation is very high over the world, which is the main way of reactive N input in this bamboo ecosystem. The water exchange and N consume mainly occurred in the litter floor layer and topsoil layer, where most of fine roots of bamboo distributed.
PMCID: PMC3795693  PMID: 24146784
2.  Chemical functionalization of bone implants with nanoparticle-stabilized chitosan and methotrexate for inhibiting both osteoclastoma formation and bacterial infection 
A great challenge in orthopedic tumor operation faced by orthopedic implants is the high recurrence and metastasis of bone tumor as well as the bacterial infection associated with the implants. Thus ideal titanium (Ti)-based bone implants should be able to not only inhibit cancer cell adhesion and proliferation, promote cancer cell apoptosis, but also resist bacterial infections. Towards this end, we developed a new approach to modify the surface of Ti-based bone implants so that they can restrain functions of osteoclastoma (Giant cell tumor of bone) cancer cells (GCTs) and inhibit the adhesion of bacteria. First, the surface of pristine Ti substrates was functionalized with dopamine (DA) to form DA-Ti substrates. Then nanoparticles electrostatically assembled from poly-lysine (PLL) and heparin (Hep) were chemically immobilized onto the DA-Ti substrates to form PLL/Hep-Ti substrates. Chitosan (CH) and methotrexate (MTX) were then electrostatically immobilized onto the PLL/Hep-Ti substrates to generate CH-MTX-Ti substrates. The successful functionalization of the Ti substrates was confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. GCTs cultured on differently functionalized Ti substrates were investigated in terms of cell adhesion, cytoskeleton, proliferation, cytotoxicity and apoptosis. The growth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in the presence of different substrates was also assayed. Our results showed that CH-MTX-Ti substrates not only significantly inhibited the adhesion, proliferation and viability of GCTs, promoted the apoptosis of GCTs, but also prevented the adhesion of the bacteria and the subsequent formation of bacterial biofilms, when compared to other Ti substrates. Thus CH-MTX-Ti substrates are expected to be used as orthopedic prostheses in bone tumor surgery that can inhibit both osteoclastoma formation and bacterial infections.
PMCID: PMC4146492  PMID: 25177491
3.  Glycemic variability in normal glucose tolerance women with the previous gestational diabetes mellitus 
Women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus (pGDM) and postpartum normal glucose tolerance (NGT) may carry impaired islet β cell secretion, insulin resistance and subsequent altered glucose homeostasis. And certain normoglycemic groups at risks of diabetes were presented with elevated glycemic variability. The aim of study was to investigate the glycemic variability in NGT women with pGDM.
Total 48 NGT women with pGDM (pGDM group) and 48 age- and BMI-matched NGT women without pGDM (control group) were recruited in the study. Integrated β cell function was assessed with the Insulin Secretion-Sensitivity Index-2 (ISSI-2) derived from oral glucose tolerance test. All subjects were monitored using the continuous glucose monitoring system for consecutive 72 h. The multiple parameters of glycemic variability included the mean blood glucose (MBG), standard deviation of blood glucose (SDBG), mean of daily differences (MODD), mean amplitude of glycemic excursions (MAGE) and the incremental areas above preprandial glucose values (AUCpp).
The pGDM group had a higher MBG (6.5 ± 0.9 vs. 5.9 ± 0.8 mmol/L, p < 0.05), SDBG (1.3 ± 0.3 vs. 0.9 ± 0.2 mmol/L, p < 0.05), MODD (1.4 ± 0.3 vs. 1.1 ± 0.2 mmol/L, p < 0.05), MAGE (2.7 ± 0.4 vs. 1.8 ± 0.5 mmol/L, p < 0.05), and AUCpp (26.8 ± 3.4 vs. 19.2 ± 3.2 mmol/L·h, p < 0.05), when compared to the control group, and the differences remained significant after adjusting for anthropometric indices and metabolic risk factors. Islet β cell function index ISSI-2 in the pGDM group was lower than in the control group (p < 0.05). MBG, SDBG, MODD, MAGE and AUCpp were all negatively associated with ISSI-2 in the pGDM group (r = −0.31, −0.30, −0.34, −0.48 and −0.54, respectively, p < 0.05), and the correlations remained significant after adjusting for anthropometric indices and metabolic risk factors.
Normal glucose tolerance women with pGDM were presented with elevated glycemic variability, which may be associated with impaired islet β cell function.
PMCID: PMC4581077  PMID: 26405461
Glycemic variability; Normal glucose tolerance; Gestational diabetes mellitus
4.  Genomic Correlate of Exceptional Erlotinib Response in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
JAMA oncology  2015;1(2):238-244.
Randomized clinical trials demonstrate no benefit for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors in unselected patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, a patient with stage IVA HNSCC received 13 days of neoadjuvant erlotinib and experienced a near-complete histologic response.
To determine a mechanism of exceptional response to erlotinib therapy in HNSCC.
Single patient with locally advanced HNSCC who received erlotinib monotherapy in a window-of-opportunity clinical trial (patients scheduled to undergo primary cancer surgery are treated briefly with an investigational agent). Whole-exome sequencing of pretreatment tumor and germline patient samples was performed at a quaternary care academic medical center, and a candidate somatic variant was experimentally investigated for mediating erlotinib response.
A brief course of erlotinib monotherapy followed by surgical resection.
Identification of pretreatment tumor somatic alterations that may contribute to the exceptional response to erlotinib. Hypotheses were formulated regarding enhanced erlotinib response in preclinical models harboring the patient tumor somatic variant MAPK1 E322K following the identification of tumor somatic variants.
No EGFR alterations were observed in the pretreatment tumor DNA. Paradoxically, the tumor harbored an activating MAPK1 E322K mutation (allelic fraction 0.13), which predicts ERK activation and erlotinib resistance in EGFR-mutant lung cancer. The HNSCC cells with MAPK1 E322K exhibited enhanced EGFR phosphorylation and erlotinib sensitivity compared with wild-type MAPK1 cells.
Selective erlotinib use in HNSCC may be informed by precision oncology approaches.
PMCID: PMC4557203  PMID: 26181029
5.  Role of miR-511 in the Regulation of OATP1B1 Expression by Free Fatty Acid 
Biomolecules & Therapeutics  2015;23(5):400-406.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a family of non-coding RNA that are able to adjust the expression of many proteins, including ATP-binding cassette transporter and organic cation transporter. We sought to evaluate the effect of miR-511 on the regulation of OATP1B1 expression by free fatty acids. When using free fatty acids to stimulate Chang liver cells, we found that the expression of miR-511 increased significantly while the expression of OATP1B1 decreased. We also proved that SLCO1B1 is the target gene of miR-511 with a bioinformatics analysis and using the dual luciferase reporter assay. Furthermore, the expressions of SLCO1B1 and OATP1B1 decreased if transfecting Chang liver cells with miR-511, but did not increase when transfecting the inhibitors of miR-511 into steatosis cells. Our study indicates that miR-511 may play an important role in the regulation of OATP1B1 expression by free fatty acids.
PMCID: PMC4556198  PMID: 26336578
miR-511; OATP1B1; SCLO1B1; Expression; Free fatty acid
6.  Enhancement of radiotherapy by ceria nanoparticles modified with neogambogic acid in breast cancer cells 
Radiotherapy is one of the main strategies for cancer treatment but has significant challenges, such as cancer cell resistance and radiation damage to normal tissue. Radiosensitizers that selectively increase the susceptibility of cancer cells to radiation can enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy. We report here the development of a novel radiosensitizer consisting of monodispersed ceria nanoparticles (CNPs) covered with the anticancer drug neogambogic acid (NGA-CNPs). These were used in conjunction with radiation in MCF-7 breast cancer cells, and the efficacy and mechanisms of action of this combined treatment approach were evaluated. NGA-CNPs potentiated the toxic effects of radiation, leading to a higher rate of cell death than either treatment used alone and inducing the activation of autophagy and cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase, while pretreatment with NGA or CNPs did not improve the rate of radiation-induced cancer cells death. However, NGA-CNPs decreased both endogenous and radiation-induced reactive oxygen species formation, unlike other nanomaterials. These results suggest that the adjunctive use of NGA-CNPs can increase the effectiveness of radiotherapy in breast cancer treatment by lowering the radiation doses required to kill cancer cells and thereby minimizing collateral damage to healthy adjacent tissue.
PMCID: PMC4542556  PMID: 26316742
ceria nanoparticles; radiotherapy; breast cancer cells; neogambogic acid; radiosensitization
7.  MicroRNA-9 induces defective trafficking of Nav1.1 and Nav1.2 by targeting Navβ2 protein coding region in rat with chronic brain hypoperfusion 
Previous studies have demonstrated that the trafficking defects of Nav1.1/Nav1.2 are involved in the dementia pathophysiology. However, the detailed mechanisms are not fully understood. Moreover, whether the impaired miRNAs regulation linked to dementia is a key player in sodium channel trafficking disturbance remains unclear. The cognitive impairment induced by chronic cerebral ischemia through chronic brain hypoperfusion (CBH) is likely reason to precede dementia. Therefore, our goal in the present study was to examine the role of microRNA-9 (miR-9) in regulating Nav1.1/Nav1.2 trafficking under CBH generated by bilateral common carotid artery occlusion (2VO).
The impairment of Nav1.1/Nav1.2 trafficking and decreased expression of Navβ2 were found in the hippocampi and cortices of rats following CBH generated by bilateral 2VO. MiR-9 was increased in both the hippocampi and cortices of rats following CBH by qRT-PCR. Intriguingly, miR-9 suppressed, while AMO-miR-9 enhanced, the trafficking of Nav1.1/Nav1.2 from cytoplasm to cell membrane. Further study showed that overexpression of miR-9 inhibited the Navβ2 expression by targeting on its coding sequence (CDS) domain by dual luciferase assay. However, binding-site mutation or miR-masks failed to influence Navβ2 expression as well as Nav1.1/Nav1.2 trafficking process, indicating that Navβ2 is a potential target for miR-9. Lentivirus-mediated miR-9 overexpression also inhibited Navβ2 expression and elicited translocation deficits to cell membrane of Nav1.1/Nav1.2 in rats, whereas injection of lentivirus-mediated miR-9 knockdown could reverse the impaired trafficking of Nav1.1/Nav1.2 triggered by 2VO.
We conclude that miR-9 may play a key role in regulating the process of Nav1.1/Nav1.2 trafficking via targeting on Navβ2 protein in 2VO rats at post-transcriptional level, and inhibition of miR-9 may be a potentially valuable approach to prevent Nav1.1/Nav1.2 trafficking disturbance induced by CBH.
PMCID: PMC4530481  PMID: 26259688
microRNA-9; Chronic brain hypoperfusion; Sodium channel
8.  Clinical Characteristics for the Relationship between Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus and Cognitive Impairment: A Cross-Sectional Study 
Aging and Disease  2015;6(4):236-244.
We explored the potential differences in cognitive status, lipid and glucose metabolism, ApoEε4 alleles and imaging between diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. 83 subjects with normal cognitive function and 114 mild cognitive impaired patients were divided into four groups by history of diabetes. General demographics was collected from all participants followed by MRI scan, biochemical examinations and a series of neuropsychological tests. Student’s t test, multiple regressions and one-way ANOVA were applied to investigate the differences between groups. Comparing diabetic patients with non-diabetic subjects in the mild cognitive impaired group, we found several decreased items in recall of three words in MMSE (p=0.020), AVLT and SCWT (p<0.050). The multiple linear regression revealed that two-hour glucose level (B= −0.255, p<0.001) and fasting C-peptide (B= −0.466, p=0.001) had negative effects on the score of MMSE. In addition, diabetic patients treated with insulin and other diabetes medication performed better in part of the AVLT (p<0.050) compared to patients with insulin treatment or oral antidiabetic medication only. Patients with metformin medication had a better memory outcome compared to patients with sulphonylurea medication in the AVLT long delay free recall (p =0.010). These findings show that patients of mild cognitive impairment with diabetes mellitus have a worse outcome in attention, information processing speed and memory compared to non-diabetic patients. Higher two-hour glucose level and C-peptide level may be risk factors for severe cognitive impairment in type-2 diabetes mellitus patients. The results of this study also suggest that medication may have effects on cognitive function.
PMCID: PMC4509472
Type-2 diabetes mellitus; mild cognitive impairment; C-peptide; blood glucose
9.  Efficacy of Auriculotherapy for Constipation in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials 
Objectives: To assess the clinical evidence of auriculotherapy for constipation treatment and to identify the efficacy of groups using Semen vaccariae or magnetic pellets as taped objects in managing constipation.
Methods: Databases were searched, including five English-language databases (the Cochrane Library, PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and AMED) and four Chinese medical databases. Only randomized controlled trials were included in the review process. Critical appraisal was conducted using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.
Results: Seventeen randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) met the inclusion criteria, of which 2 had low risk of bias. The primary outcome measures were the improvement rate and total effective rate. A meta-analysis of 15 RCTs showed a moderate, significant effect of auriculotherapy in managing constipation compared with controls (relative risk [RR], 2.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.52– 2.79; p<0.00001). The 15 RCTs also showed a moderate, significant effect of auriculotherapy in relieving constipation (RR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.13–1.44; p<0.0001). For other symptoms associated with constipation, such as abdominal distension or anorexia, results of the meta-analyses showed no statistical significance. Subgroup analysis revealed that use of S. vaccariae and use of magnetic pellets were both statistically favored over the control in relieving constipation.
Conclusions: Current evidence illustrated that auriculotherapy, a relatively safe strategy, is probably beneficial in managing constipation. However, most of the eligible RCTs had a high risk of bias, and all were conducted in China. No definitive conclusion can be made because of cultural and geographic differences. Further rigorous RCTs from around the world are warranted to confirm the effect and safety of auriculotherapy for constipation.
PMCID: PMC4129665  PMID: 25020089
10.  Intracellular Delivery of Molecular Cargo Using Cell-Penetrating Peptides and the Combination Strategies 
Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) can cross cellular membranes in a non-toxic fashion, improving the intracellular delivery of various molecular cargos such as nanoparticles, small molecules and plasmid DNA. Because CPPs provide a safe, efficient, and non-invasive mode of transport for various cargos into cells, they have been developed as vectors for the delivery of genetic and biologic products in recent years. Most common CPPs are positively charged peptides. While delivering negatively charged molecules (e.g., nucleic acids) to target cells, the internalization efficiency of CPPs is reduced and inhibited because the cationic charges on the CPPs are neutralized through the covering of CPPs by cargos on the structure. Even under these circumstances, the CPPs can still be non-covalently complexed with the negatively charged molecules. To address this issue, combination strategies of CPPs with other typical carriers provide a promising and novel delivery system. This review summarizes the latest research work in using CPPs combined with molecular cargos including liposomes, polymers, cationic peptides, nanoparticles, adeno-associated virus (AAV) and calcium for the delivery of genetic products, especially for small interfering RNA (siRNA). This combination strategy remedies the reduced internalization efficiency caused by neutralization.
PMCID: PMC4581311  PMID: 26295227
cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs); TAT peptide; liposome; nanoparticles; combination delivery; calcium
11.  Construction and characterization of an anti-CD20 mAb nanocomb with exceptionally excellent lymphoma-suppressing activity 
The CD20-directed monoclonal antibody rituximab (RTX) established a new era in the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL); however, suboptimal response and/or resistance to RTX still limit its clinical merits. Although four effector mechanisms are validated to participate in CD20-based immunotherapy, including complement-dependent cytotoxicity, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, caspase-dependent apoptosis, and lysosome-mediated programmed cell death (PCD), they could hardly be synchronously activated by any anti-CD20 mAb or mAb derivative until now. Herein, a novel mAb nanocomb (polyethylenimine polymer–RTX–tositumomab [PPRT nanocomb]) was firstly constructed through mass arming two different anti-CD20 mAbs (RTX and tositumomab) to one polymer by nanotechnology. Comparing with free mAbs, PPRT nanocomb possesses a comparable binding ability and reduced “off-rate” to surface CD20 of NHL cells. When treated by PPRT nanocomb, the caspase-dependent apoptosis was remarkably enhanced except for concurrently eliciting complement-dependent cytotoxicity, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, and lysosome-mediated PCD. Besides, “cross-cell link”-assisted homotypic adhesion by PPRT nanocomb further enhanced the susceptibility to PCD of lymphoma cells. Pharmacokinetic assays revealed that PPRT nanocomb experienced a relatively reduced clearance from peripheral blood compared with free antibodies. With the cooperation of all the abovementioned superiorities, PPRT nanocomb exhibits exceptionally excellent in vivo antitumor activities in both disseminated and localized human NHL xenotransplant models.
PMCID: PMC4525799  PMID: 26257518
non-Hodgkin lymphoma; CD20; nanotechnology; rituximab; programmed cell death
12.  Proteomic analysis reveals that COP9 signalosome complex subunit 7A (CSN7A) is essential for the phase transition of migratory locust 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12542.
The migratory locust displays a reversible, density-dependent transition between the two phases of gregaria and solitaria. This phenomenon is a typical kind of behavior plasticity. Here, we report that COP9 signalosome complex subunit 7A (CSN7A) is involved in the regulation of locust phase transition. Firstly, 90 proteins were identified to express differentially between the two phases by quantitative proteomic analysis. Gregaria revealed higher levels in proteins related to structure formation, melanism and energy metabolism, whereas solitaria had more abundant proteins related to digestion, absorption and chemical sensing. Subsequently, ten proteins including CSN7A were found to reveal differential mRNA expression profiles between the two phases. The CSN7A had higher mRNA level in the gregaria as compared with the solitaria, and the mRNA amount in the gregaria decreased remarkably during the 32 h-isolation. However, the mRNA level in the solitaria kept constant during the crowding rearing. Finally and importantly, RNA interference of CSN7A in gregaria resulted in obvious phase transition towards solitaria within 24 h. It suggests that CSN7A plays an essential role in the transition of gregaria towards solitaria in the migratory locust. To our knowledge, it’s the first time to report the role of CSN in behavior plasticity of animals.
PMCID: PMC4515600  PMID: 26212173
13.  Comparison of Therapeutic Effect of Recombinant Tissue Plasminogen Activator by Treatment Time after Onset of Acute Ischemic Stroke 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11743.
We aimed to compare the therapeutic effect of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) administered at different time windows within the first 6 hours after onset of acute ischemic stroke (AIS). A retrospective analysis was performed of data collected from 194 patients who received rt-PA thrombolysis within 4.5 hours after AIS onset and from 29 patients who received rt-PA thrombolysis between 4.5–6 hours after AIS onset. The National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores were statistically decreased in both groups (P < 0.05) at 24 hours and 7 days after onset. There was no statistical difference in the modified Rankin score or mortality at day 90 after treatment between the two groups (P > 0.05). In conclusion, AIS patients who received rt-PA treatment between 4.5–6 hours after onset were similar in therapeutic efficacy to those who received rt-PA within 4.5 hours after onset. Our results suggest that intravenous thrombolytic therapy for AIS within 4.5–6 hours after onset is effective and safe.
PMCID: PMC4513278  PMID: 26206308
14.  Urinary isothiocyanates level and liver cancer risk: a nested case-control study in Shanghai, China 
Nutrition and cancer  2014;66(6):1023-1029.
Experimental studies have provided evidence that isothiocyanates (ITCs) from cruciferous vegetables may modulate carcinogen metabolism and facilitate carcinogen detoxification and reduce cancer risk. However, no epidemiological studies on liver cancer were reported. This study investigates the association between urinary ITCs levels and liver cancer risk among men and women in Shanghai, China. A nested case-control study of 217 incident cases of liver cancer and 427 matched controls identified from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study and Shanghai Men’s Health Study was conducted. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) summarizing the association between urinary ITCs levels and liver cancer risk. Compared to those with undetectable ITCs, non-significantly inverse association was observed among detectable (OR = 0.80; 95% CI = 0.51–1.26), below-median (OR = 0.76; 95% CI = 0.47–1.24), and above-median concentration (OR = 0.86; 95% CI = 0.52–1.41) with liver cancer risk. Similar patterns were observed when urinary ITCs levels were categorized into tertiles or quartiles. Although our study firstly focused on the association between urinary ITCs exposure and liver cancer risk, we did not find significant results. Future multicenter prospective, different population studies are warranted to validate our findings.
PMCID: PMC4512210  PMID: 25076394
isothiocyanates; liver neoplasms; urinary biomarkers; nested case-control study
15.  PAND: A Distribution to Identify Functional Linkage from Networks with Preferential Attachment Property 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0127968.
Technology advances have immensely accelerated large-scale mapping of biological networks, which necessitates the development of accurate and powerful network-based algorithms to make functional inferences. A prevailing approach is to leverage functions of neighboring nodes to predict unknown molecular function. However, existing neighbor-based algorithms have ignored the scale-free property hidden in many biological networks. By assuming that neighbor sharing is constrained by the preferential attachment property, we developed a Preferential Attachment based common Neighbor Distribution (PAND) to calculate the probability of the neighbor-sharing event between any two nodes in scale-free networks, which nearly perfectly matched the observed probability in simulations. By applying PAND to a human protein-protein interaction (PPI) network, we showed that smaller probabilities represented closer functional linkages between proteins. With the PAND-derive linkages, we were able to build new networks where the links are more functionally reliable than those of the human PPI network. We then applied simple annotation schemes to a PAND-derived network to make reliable functional predictions for proteins. We also developed an R package called PANDA (PAND-derived functional Associations) to implement the methods proposed in this study. In conclusion, PAND is a useful distribution to calculate the probability of the neighbor-sharing events in scale-free networks. With PAND, we are able to extract reliable functional linkages from real biological networks and builds new networks that are better bases for further functional inference.
PMCID: PMC4497646  PMID: 26158709
16.  Inhibition of P-glycoprotein Gene Expression and Function Enhances Triptolide-induced Hepatotoxicity in Mice 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11747.
Triptolide (TP) is the major active principle of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f. and very effective in treatment of autoimmune diseases. However, TP induced hepatotoxicity limited its clinical applications. Our previous study found that TP was a substrate of P-glycoprotein and its hepatobiliary clearance was markedly affected by P-gp modulation in sandwich-cultured rat hepatocytes. In this study, small interfering RNA (siRNA) and specific inhibitor tariquidar were used to investigate the impact of P-gp down regulation on TP-induced hepatotoxicity. The results showed that when the function of P-gp was inhibited by mdr1a-1 siRNA or tariquidar, the systemic and hepatic exposures of TP were significantly increased. The aggravated hepatotoxicity was evidenced with the remarkably lifted levels of serum biomarkers (ALT and AST) and pathological changes in liver. The other toxicological indicators (MDA, SOD and Bcl-2/Bax) were also significantly changed by P-gp inhibition. The data analysis showed that the increase of TP exposure in mice was quantitatively correlated to the enhanced hepatotoxicity, and the hepatic exposure was more relevant to the toxicity. P-gp mediated clearance played a significant role in TP detoxification. The risk of herb-drug interaction likely occurs when TP is concomitant with P-gp inhibitors or substrates in clinic.
PMCID: PMC4488747  PMID: 26134275
17.  Panax Notoginseng flower saponins (PNFS) inhibit LPS-stimulated NO overproduction and iNOS gene overexpression via the suppression of TLR4-mediated MAPK/NF-kappa B signaling pathways in RAW264.7 macrophages 
Chinese Medicine  2015;10:15.
Panax Notoginseng flower saponins (PNFS) are the main active component of Panax notoginseng (Burk) F. H. Chen flower bud (PNF) and possess significant anti-inflammatory efficacy. This study aims to explore the mechanisms underlying PNFS’ antiflammatory action in RAW264.7 macrophages.
A cell counting kit-8 assay was used to determine the viability of RAW264.7 macrophages. Anti-inflammation effects of PNFS in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages were measured based on the detection of nitric oxide (NO) overproduction (Griess method, DAF-FM DA fluorescence assay and NO2− scavenging assay), and interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha gene overexpression (real-time PCR and ELISA). Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) gene overexpression was determined by real-time PCR and western blotting. iNOS enzyme activity was also assayed. The mechanisms underlying the suppression of iNOS gene overexpression by PNFS were explored using real-time PCR and western blotting to assess mRNA and protein levels of components of the Toll-like receptor 4 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt, and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B) signaling pathways.
PNFS (50, 100, 200 μg/mL) significantly reduced LPS-induced overproduction of NO (P < 0.001, P < 0.001, P < 0.001) and IL-6 (P = 0.103, P < 0.001, P < 0.001), but did not affect TNF-alpha overproduction. PNFS (50, 100, 200 μg/mL) also markedly decreased LPS-activated iNOS (P < 0.001, P < 0.001, P < 0.001) and TLR4 gene overexpression (P = 0.858, P = 0.046, P = 0.005). Furthermore, treatment with PNFS (200 μg/mL) suppressed the phosphorylation of MAPKs including P38 (P = 0.001), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) (P = 0.036) and extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 (P = 0.021). PNFS (200 μg/mL) inhibited the activation of the NF-kappa B signaling pathway by preventing the phosphorylation of inhibitor of NF-kappa B alpha (I-kappa B alpha) (P = 0.004) and P65 (P = 0.023), but PNFS (200 μg/mL) could not activate the LPS-induced PI3K-Akt signaling pathway.
PNFS significantly down-regulated iNOS gene overexpression and thereby decreased NO overproduction via the inhibition of TLR4-mediated MAPK/NF-kappa B signaling pathways, but not the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4493833  PMID: 26155304
18.  Is the serum l-arginine level during early pregnancy a predictor of pregnancy-induced hypertension? 
The objective of this study was to determine the concentration of serum l-arginine in healthy pregnant women and infant cord blood and to compare them with those in patients with pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH). The serum concentration of l-arginine in normal pregnant women at early gestation (n = 186) was determined and analyzed based on maternal factors such as the age, pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), smoking and alcohol habits before pregnancy. Similarly, the concentration of cord blood of the newborns (n = 142) was also analyzed. These values were compared with those in the PIH group (n = 21). The potential risk factors for PIH were also estimated. The serum concentration of l-arginine at early gestation in normal pregnant women (88.65 ± 19.96 µM) was not affected by the maternal age and BMI before pregnancy. A lower l-arginine concentration at early gestation (<70 µM) significantly elevated PIH risk [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 4.26, 95% CI 1.29–14.50]. In addition, either women with large body mass before pregnancy (BMI>25 kg/m2) or primipara women also showed a significant association with PIH risk [adjusted OR = 10.55 (2.95–40.68); 5.25 (1.72–19.15), respectively]. In conclusion, a lower l-arginine concentration at early gestation, overweight before pregnancy (BMI>25 kg/m2) and primipara could predict to the development of PIH.
PMCID: PMC4512889
l-arginine; pregnancy-induced hypertension; parity; cord blood
19.  Corticosteroid therapy for severe acute pancreatitis: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials 
Background: Recent reports about the benefits of corticosteroid therapy in patients with severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) have shown conflicting results. We aimed to explore the effects of corticosteroid therapy in SAP patients on patient outcomes by performing a meta-analysis. Methods: Databases (Medline, EMBASE, Web of Science, PubMed, Cochrane Library, Chinese Biomedicine Database, and China Academic Journal Full-Text Database) were queried for all relevant, randomized, controlled trials investigating corticosteroid therapy in patients with SAP. Results: Six randomized, controlled trials including 430 SAP patients were identified. Corticosteroid therapy for SAP was associated with reductions in the length of hospital stay, the need for surgical intervention, and the mortality rate (weighted mean difference [WMD]: -9.47, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -16.91 to -2.04, P = 0.01; odds ratio [OR]: 0.35, 95% CI: 0.18-0.67, P = 0.002; OR: 0.45, 95% CI: 0.22-0.94, P = 0.03). There were no significant differences in the complication rates or Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) scores in patients with or without corticosteroid therapy. Conclusion: Corticosteroid therapy may improve outcomes in patients with SAP.
PMCID: PMC4555660  PMID: 26339332
Corticosteroid; severe acute pancreatitis; meta-analysis
20.  Compound antimalarial ethosomal cataplasm: preparation, evaluation, and mechanism of penetration enhancement 
Malaria is still a serious public health problem in some parts of the world. The problems of recurrence and drug resistance are increasingly more serious. Thus, it is necessary to develop a novel antimalarial agent. The objectives of this study were to construct a novel compound antimalarial transdermal nanosystem–ethosomal cataplasm, to investigate its characteristics and efficiency, and to systematically explore the penetration-enhancing mechanisms of ethosomal cataplasm. Artesunate-loaded ethosomes and febrifugine-loaded ethosomes were prepared, and their characteristics were evaluated. Drug-loaded ethosomes were incorporated in the matrix of cataplasm to form the compound antimalarial ethosomal cataplasm. With the help of ethosomal technology, the accumulated permeation quantity of artesunate significantly increased at 8 hours after administration, which was 1.57 times as much as that of conventional cataplasm. Soon after administration, the ethosomal cataplasm could make a large quantity of antimalarial drug quickly penetrate through skin, then the remaining drug in the ethosomal cataplasm could be steadily released. These characteristics of ethosomal cataplasm are favorable for antimalarial drugs to kill Plasmodium spp. quickly and prevent the resurgence of Plasmodium spp. As expected, the ethosomal cataplasm showed good antimalarial efficiency in this experiment. The negative conversion rates were 100% and the recurrence rates were 0% at all dosages. The mechanism of penetration enhancement of the ethosomal cataplasm was systematically explored using an optics microscope, polarization microscope, and transmission electron microscopy. The microstructure, ultrastructure, and birefringent structure in skin were observed. Data obtained in this study showed that the application of ethosomal technology to antimalarial cataplasm could improve the transdermal delivery of drug, enhance the efficacy, and facilitate practical application in clinic.
PMCID: PMC4494185  PMID: 26170661
ethosomes; transdermal drug-delivery systems; artesunate; febrifugine
21.  Association between Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in XRCC3 and Radiation-Induced Adverse Effects on Normal Tissue: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130388.
The X-ray repair cross-complementing group 3 (XRCC3) protein plays an important role in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. The relationship between XRCC3 polymorphisms and the risk of radiation-induced adverse effects on normal tissue remains inconclusive. Thus, we performed a meta-analysis to elucidate the association between XRCC3 polymorphisms and radiation-induced adverse effects on normal tissue. All eligible studies up to December 2014 were identified through a search of the PubMed, Embase and Web of Science databases. Seventeen studies involving 656 cases and 2193 controls were ultimately included in this meta-analysis. The pooled odds ratios (ORs) with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to evaluate the association between XRCC3 polymorphisms and the risk of radiation-induced normal tissue adverse effects. We found that the XRCC3 p.Thr241Met (rs861539) polymorphism was significantly associated with early adverse effects induced by radiotherapy (OR = 1.99, 95%CI: 1.31–3.01, P = 0.001). A positive association lacking statistical significance with late adverse effects was also identified (OR = 1.28, 95%CI: 0.97–1.68, P = 0.08). In addition, the rs861539 polymorphism was significantly correlated with a higher risk of adverse effects induced by head and neck area irradiation (OR = 2.41, 95%CI: 1.49–3.89, p = 0.0003) and breast irradiation (OR = 1.41, 95%CI: 1.02–1.95, p = 0.04), whereas the correlation was not significant for lung irradiation or pelvic irradiation. Furthermore, XRCC3 rs1799794 polymorphism may have a protective effect against late adverse effects induced by radiotherapy (OR = 0.47, 95%CI: 0.26–0.86, P = 0.01). Well-designed large-scale clinical studies are required to further validate our results.
PMCID: PMC4474802  PMID: 26091483
22.  Cancer risk among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a population-based prospective study in China 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11503.
Evidence indicates an increased cancer risk among type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients, yet studies in mainland China are scarce. Based on Diabetes Surveillance System linking to Cancer Surveillance System of Zhejiang Province in China, we explored the cancer risk among T2DM patients. Totally, 327,268 T2DM patients were identified and followed from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2013. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were reported. Overall cancer risk was found significantly increased with an SIR of 1.15 (95% CI 1.12–1.19) and 1.25 (95% CI 1.21–1.30) in males and females, respectively. Regarding specific cancer sites, risks of liver, colon, rectum, pancreas, and kidney were significantly increased with SIRs of 1.26 (95% CI 1.16–1.36), 1.47 (95% CI 1.29–1.67), 1.25 (95% CI 1.09–1.43), 2.81 (95% CI 2.50–3.16) and 1.61 (95% CI 1.28–2.03) in males, 1.53 (95% CI 1.35–1.73), 1.33 (95% CI 1.15–1.54), 1.29 (95% CI 1.10–1.51), 3.62 (95% CI 3.20–4.09) and 1.71 (95% CI 1.28–2.29) in females, respectively. A significant increased SIR was noted for prostate (1.80, 95% CI 1.58–2.06). Significant increased SIRs for lung (1.32, 95% CI 1.20–1.44) and stomach (1.16, 95% CI 1.03–1.30) were observed in females. We suggested an increased cancer risk among T2DM patients.
PMCID: PMC4469976  PMID: 26082067
23.  Effect of antecolic or retrocolic reconstruction of the gastro/duodenojejunostomy on delayed gastric emptying after pancreaticoduodenectomy: a meta-analysis 
BMC Gastroenterology  2015;15:68.
Delayed gastric emptying (DGE) is one of the most frequent complications after pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD). This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effect of antecolic versus retrocolic reconstruction of gastro/duodenojejunostomy on DGE after PD.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing antecolic versus retrocolic reconstruction of gastro/duodenojejunostomy on DGE after PD were eligible for inclusion. Pooled estimates of treatment effect were calculated using either the fixed effects model or random effects model.
Five RCTs involving 534 randomized patients were eligible. The comparison of DGE showed no significant difference (odds ratio, 0.66; 95 % confidence interval, 0.32 to 1.33; P = 0.24). The antecolic and retrocolic groups also had comparable outcomes for clinical parameters related to DGE, other complications, hospital mortality, and length of hospital stay.
The route of gastro/duodenojejunostomy reconstruction has no impact on DGE after PD. Therefore, the choice of reconstruction route should be selected according to the surgeon’s preference.
PMCID: PMC4467059  PMID: 26076690
Delayed gastric emptying; Gastro/duodenojejunostomy reconstruction; Pancreatoduodenectomy; Meta-analysis
24.  A Cost Analysis of Hospitalizations for Infections Related to Injection Drug Use at a County Safety-Net Hospital in Miami, Florida 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0129360.
Infections related to injection drug use are common. Harm reduction strategies such as syringe exchange programs and skin care clinics aim to prevent these infections in injection drug users (IDUs). Syringe exchange programs are currently prohibited by law in Florida. The goal of this study was to estimate the mortality and cost of injection drug use-related bacterial infections over a 12-month period to the county safety-net hospital in Miami, Florida. Additionally, the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C virus among this cohort of hospitalized IDUs was estimated.
Methods and Findings
IDUs discharged from Jackson Memorial Hospital were identified using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, codes for illicit drug abuse and endocarditis, bacteremia or sepsis, osteomyelitis and skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs). 349 IDUs were identified for chart abstraction and 92% were either uninsured or had publicly funded insurance. SSTIs, the most common infection, were reported in 64% of IDUs. HIV seroprevalence was 17%. Seventeen patients (4.9%) died during their hospitalization. The total cost for treatment for injection drug use-related infections to Jackson Memorial Hospital over the 12-month period was $11.4 million.
Injection drug use-related bacterial infections represent a significant morbidity for IDUs in Miami-Dade County and a substantial financial cost to the county hospital. Strategies aimed at reducing risk of infections associated with injection drug use could decrease morbidity and the cost associated with these common, yet preventable infections.
PMCID: PMC4468183  PMID: 26075888
25.  Expression of miRNA-1233 in placenta from patients with hypertensive disorder complicating pregnancy and its role in disease pathogenesis 
Objective: This study is to investigate the expression of miRNA-1233 in placental tissue from patients with hypertensive disorder complicating pregnancy (HDCP) and its role in disease pathogenesis. Methods: The expression levels of miRNA-1233 and HoxB3 in placental tissue from HDCP patients and normal control subjects, as well as in the in vitro trophoblast cells, were detected with real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. The proliferation and invasion abilities of trophoblast cells were assessed by the cell counting kit (CCK)-8 and transwell chamber assays, respectively. Dual-luciferase reporter assay was performed to evaluate the interaction between miRNA-1233 and Hoxb3. Results: Real-time PCR showed that, compared with the control group, the expression levels of miRNA-1233 were significantly elevated in placental tissue from HDCP patients. On the other hand, both the mRNA and protein expression levels of HoxB3 were significantly decreased in the HDCP group. Moreover, the mRNA and protein expression levels of HoxB3 were significantly declined by the transfection of miRNA-1233 mimics in trophoblast cells. Bioinformatics analysis and the dual-luciferase reporter gene assay showed that, miRNA-1233 targeted HoxB3 in the 3’-UTR and suppressed the gene expression. In addition, the results from the CCK-8 and transwell chamber assays showed that, the transfection of miRNA-1233 significantly decreased the proliferation and invasion abilities of the trophoblast cells. Conclusion: In placental tissue from HDCP patients, up-regulated miR-1233 could suppress the expression of HoxB3, and then inhibit the invasion of trophoblast cells, which might contribute to the disease pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4538019  PMID: 26309567
Hypertensive disorder complicating pregnancy (HDCP); microRNA (miRNA)-1233; HoxB3; trophoblast cells

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